Arguably Greatest Player in ISU History Included in NBA Trade
Iowa State has an illustrious basketball history tied to its program, especially during the Fred Hoiberg years. You can't discuss the lore of Iowa State basketball without including some of the stars that played under him during that time -- Georges Niang, Royce White, Melvin Ejim, DeAndre Kane, Abdel Nader, Diante Garrett, Matt Thomas, and Korie Lucious to name a few.
One stands out among all of the great names he led, though -- Monte Morris.
The Flint, Michigan native came to Ames as a freshman and immediately made an impact for the Cyclones, starting in 17 of his 36 appearances. That season, Morris put up 6.8 points, dished out 3.7 assists, and stole the ball an average of 1.3 times per game over 28 minutes each contest.
He continued to get better at scoring the ball each year with Iowa State, ultimately becoming their go-to guy on that end of the floor in terms of creating for himself and for others. As a senior, Morris averaged 16.4 points, 6.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in 35 minutes per game.
Scouts knew he was an NBA talent quickly in his career, but his senior season solidified it. Plus, his decision to stick around for his junior and senior seasons despite the coaching change from Hoiberg to Steve Prohm made Cyclone fans love the young man even more.
He finished his career ranking sixth in program history in career assists (551), second in single-season assists (241 in 2015-2016), eighth in career steals (172), and tied for tenth in single-season steals (64 in 2014-2015).
After his senior year in Ames, Morris was taken 51st overall by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft. Throughout his five years in the NBA, Morris has been a serviceable backup guard -- a role that is valuable to each and every team in the league. He's got career averages of 10.5 points, 3.7 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per contest. He's also been fairly durable, playing 73+ games in three of his five pro seasons.
As of today, he's been traded from the team that drafted him. Along with Will Barton, he's being shipped to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Ish Smith and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski shared the news via Twitter:
Last season, the Wizards went 35-47 and finished 12th out of 15 teams in the NBA's Eastern Conference. Their leading scorer was Bradley Beal, who put up 23.3 points per game. Beal's future with the team has been up in the air as of late, but Wojnarowski reported that he is expected to sign a five-year deal worth a projected $248 million.
Washington's head coach is Wes Unseld Jr. He is entering his second season as head coach.